Great Debate: Should it be illegal to put a healthy dog to sleep?


In 2018, an estimated total of 1,462 stray dogs were put to sleep across the UK – some of them for no other reason but the fact they were not claimed, and no rescue space was available for them.

By law, pounds are required to keep dogs found straying for a limited amount of time; if they remain unclaimed, they can be put up for adoption – but if no one comes forward, they may be euthanased to free up space for the next wandering stray. Rescues often race against time to save these dogs but, often already stretched to their limit, aren’t always able to help. 

It isn’t so everywhere. In some countries, such as Italy, it is illegal to put healthy dogs to sleep – pet or a stray – outside specific circumstances like severe aggression.

Some are calling for this policy to be implemented in the UK as well, arguing that no dog should be killed for no reason but lack of space to keep them. Others point out that while well-meaning, this policy of keeping all dogs indefinitely would lead to overcrowded pounds, with dogs living crammed in kennels for potentially their entire life and strays left in the streets due to the lack of space. The problems, they argue, would out outweigh the benefits. 

What do you think – should it be illegal to put a healthy dog to sleep? Write your answer to, or comment the Facebook post below.

Take part to our next Great Debate!British pounds are required to keep dogs found straying for a limited amount of…

Posted by Dogs Today Magazine on Friday, 4 January 2019


  1. There needs to be a better system in place to make people responsible for their pets,chips and tags are not working.There should be a system similar to car registration where the law states the dog is yours unless you notify you have rehomed and supplied the new owner details.If the system was updated there wouldn’t be so many dogs left with no where to go,no need to put to sleep.Its not the dogs fault it’s the people and a system that doesn’t make people responsible.

  2. The breeders should be held ultimately responsible for any dog they produce which includes lifetime care. These dogs don’t just appear from thin air,somebody has made money from them somewhere and the buck needs to stop with the breeder. There will always be irresponsible dog owners but the amount of dogs being churned out for profit is at crisis point and it’s the dogs that suffer and the rescues often are blamed for not having the space. We need to stop the stray/unwanted dog situation at source and that is the breeders.

  3. Would you like to put to sleep if you were healthy? No animal should be put to sleep except for when necessary; sick with no chance of survival, those who have no chance of rehabilitation and even those are questionable. NEVER PUT AN ANIMAL TO SLEEP (KILLING THEM) UNLESS YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE YOU CAN DO. Remember that you are playing GOD every time you do, he is the only one that has that choice, not you.


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